4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever been in that place where every single thing in your life seems to have gone awry, and life itself is rapidly spiraling out of control? Your trusted friends and colleagues have started to question your credibility; your confidence level is fast approaching zero! Well, that is the sort of predicament Amy Robinson faces in Concealment by Rose Edmunds. To make matters worse, Amy now begins to question even her sanity. Moreover, the façade of apparent normalcy she maintains to conceal her shady past is about to be shattered as well.
This psychological thriller starts with Amy, a partner at Pearson Malone, constantly being dominated by her obnoxious boss Smithies. As an important client of the farm is on the verge of closing a deal, Amy suspects some serious tax fraud. When Isabel, a charming and competent employee of her department is discovered dead and Isabel’s boyfriend is charged for the murder, Amy believes the root of the troubles goes deeper than just a feud between lovers. Do her suspicions have some ground? Or is she being overly paranoid? Caught in the turmoil, how would she protect her own secrets?
The questionable sanity of the protagonist puts the story in a strange light. The readers find it difficult to take her at face value, especially as she claims to see and talk to a younger version of her. Throughout the book, we never know whether something is real or just a figment of Amy’s often delusional mind. Despite Smithies’ favorite catchphrase “perception is reality”, Amy herself cannot be sure if her discoveries are actually real.
Edmunds did a superb work sketching Amy’s character. As a partner of a prestigious tax farm, she must have possessed some good qualities. But her self-doubt, coupled with her drinking problem and her secret past, gives her opponents ammunition to target her credibility. Strangely enough, she shows strong resilience, bouncing back after each humiliating comment, each backstab and carrying on. Constantly in battle with her own self, whether she will succumb to the pressure or will rise a confident woman depends much on her own choices.
The plot took some time to develop. But once it built its pace, the rest was a delightful journey with layers of mystery and twists after twists. As the book advanced, I felt that every person, living or dead, is hiding some secret or other. It was thrilling to find so many unexpected secrets unraveling one by one.
I can think of only one negative point in the book. The first few chapters contained too many technical details and tax jargon. I read it without comprehending much, but later when I realized that those parts held important clues and were imperative to the story, I had to go back and re-read. I wonder if those initial parts could have been made a little easier for the laypersons like me.
In spite of that, the book deserves 4 out of 4 stars. There were a couple of minor typing errors in the book which did not detract from the reading experience. I would recommend it to all thriller-lovers, even the younger readers since there are no violent scenes. Also, Amy’s resilient nature might boost the morale of those who find themselves in insurmountable situations, as it did for me.
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